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Exquisite Visual Treat

Exquisite Visual Treat

Matt Lamothe 02 FAV, Julia Rothman 02 IL and Jenny Volvovski 02 GD – also known as Also Design – have a track record for producing consistently high quality work, both for a wide range of clients and through their own self-driven projects. Their latest, The Exquisite Book: 100 Artists Play a Collaborative Game (Chronicle Books, 2010), presents the work of 100 “of today’s hottest indie artists” who participated in an ingenious interpretation of the 1920s surrealist drawing game Exquisite Corpse.

Each created artwork for his or her own page in response to the work on the preceding page, using a set horizon line to connect the two but otherwise taking entirely different approaches – stylistically, thematically and in terms of visual storytelling. Not surprisingly, the results are fascinating, with some artists continuing a recognizable narrative thread and others simply picking up on a particular shape or the general feel of the preceding image. So many subtleties abound that the book invites repeated exploration of each image and each series, which are organized into open-ended chapters with titles such as In the Clouds, In the Forest, In the City.

In their introduction to the book, the trio of alumni confess that the concept for the piece actually began in RISD Foundation Studies art history classes – when they would pass their own drawings-in-process back and forth in the dark of the RISD Auditorium while slide lectures were taking place. “It’s quite likely that the three of us failed to become experts in the history of Han Dynasty pottery because we were passing notes instead of taking notes,” they write.

The format of The Exquisite Book is as unique as the contents. Each of the 10 chapters is presented as a 10-page accordion pull-out, with work by the first five artists on the front panel and that of the last five on the back. Lamothe and Rothman each contributed their own page and of the 98 other artists from around the world invited to participate, almost a dozen are fellow RISD graduates.